Taoism is the oldest surviving
philosophic system of thought native to China. It evolved slowly over countless
generations when Hunter-Gatherers
lived as one with nature before settled (civilized) life began. The following exert
is from my book “The Healing Power of
Acupressure and Acupuncture; A Complete Guide to Timeless Traditions and Modern
Practice”, that offers a brief synopsis of Taoist thought. I quote the
famous Taoist Sage, Lao-Tzu; the wise man who said “A journey of a thousand
miles begins with a single step.”These
quotes are taken from my teacher's translation. My teacher; Hua-Ching Ni, also
known as Master Ni or, recently, Omni, is the West's most prolific author on
Taoist subjects having written more than 40 books since the later 1970's. His books
can be found at www.sevenstar.com
From Chapter 5, pages 74-77:
One of the foundations of modern
science is the value it places on objectivity. Scientists strive to remain as
objective as possible, making their observations without pre-conceived notions.
As highly as pure objectivity is prized however, it is virtually impossible to
escape the influence of ones pervading cultural prejudices. We seem destined
to have our vision stained by the subjective cultural dogma of whatever society
and bit of time we happen to be born into as such factors permeate the basic
perspectives with which we view the world around us. We are taught these belief
systems as tiny children, along with our survival skills, before we have any
chance to weigh such beliefs for ourselves in a mature fashion. Even Einstein
was unable to see thru old dogma when he failed to explore the possibility that
the “fixed stars” are not fixed and that the universe is expanding.
Taoist folk history teaches that our early modern human ancestors
were highly intelligent yet extremely innocent beings. For countless
generations, they learned survival skills from their elders, but no one told
them how to think of the world around them in any judgmental way because no one
had yet formed such judgments. Taoists came to revere their pre-historic
ancestors because they thought of them as humankind's only truly objective
generations - free from the cultural prejudices that would dominate later
times. Master Ni refers to these primitive beings as the only “true scientists”
- meaning the only completely objective observers of nature. Over time these
innocent beings did reach some conclusions about nature and humankind's place
within the big scheme of things. They were the only era of humans to do this on
their own – without being told how to apply their conscious judgment before
they had matured enough to reach their own conclusions. The conclusions these
true scientists reached would form the basis of what later generations would
as the absolute Truth of the universe, is elusive and evasive.
it is elusive and evasive, it unveils itself as images and forms.
Evasive and elusive, it discloses itself as
and indistinct, it reveals itself as impalpable subtle essence.
essence is so subtle and yet is so real.
It is the primary origin of the whole of
It existed prior to the earliest time and
only its name is new.”
Chapter 21 of Master Ni's translation of the Tao Teh Ching.
Lao Tzu is often identified as the founder of Taoism. While he
may have been the first to use the term “Tao” in its current context, he traced
his lineage back to the Sages long before the Yellow Emperor. This lineage
extends back into the age of the innocent minded objective observers of nature
who became aware of the evasive and elusive impalpable subtle essence that
constitutes the primary origin of the whole of creation and would only later be
identified as “Tao.”
Heaven-and-Earth are born,
there is something formless and complete
Impalpable and everlasting, silent and
undisturbed, standing alone and unchanging,
it exercises itself absolutely and
generates itself inexhaustively in all dimensions.
It may be regarded as the Mother of all
Far beyond mankind's relative mental
it can be referred to by no specific
it may be identified as Tao,
the absolute nature of the
Excerpt from Chapter 25
of Master Ni's translation of the Tao Teh
The Sages concluded that the manner in which the Tao
“exercises itself”, generating all around us, can be traced to the interaction
between polar forces they ended up calling “yin” and “yang”.
This conclusion was heavily influenced by
the factors we have considered throughout this book: the sun and moon, the two
genders among species, etc. The process of generation was also called the
“Mystical Intercourse” of yin and yang.
“The subtle essence of the universe is
It is like an unfailing fountain of life
which flows forever in a vast and profound valley.
It is called the Primal Female, the
The operation of the opening and closing
of the subtle Gate of the Origin
performs the Mystical Intercourse of the universe.
The Mystical Intercourse brings forth all
things from the unseen sphere
into the realm of the manifest.
The Mystical Intercourse of yin and yang is
the root of universal life.
Its creativity and effectiveness are
Chapter 6 of Master Ni's translation of the Tao Teh Ching.
While the Sages' objective observation of the constant ebb and
flow of nature – the rising and setting sun, the waxing and waning moon, the
shifting tides, the changing seasons, etc., inspired their thoughts regarding
the Tao and the polar forces of yin and yang, later generation's awareness of
the Tao declined as emphasis began to be placed on physical/material
developments. During this era, the rise of subjective concepts and subsequent
loss of objectivity occurred.According
to Taoist folk history, the rise of subjective concepts, more than any other
factor, marked the decline of the Golden Era of innocence.